703-383-8500 TTY 711
8221 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22031
Daryl Washington
Executive Director

Mental Health First Aid for Higher Ed

Mental Health First Aid for Higher Ed logoWant to better understand mental illness, learn how to help someone experiencing a crisis and possibly save a life?

Take a Mental Health First Aid for Higher Ed class!

What is Mental Health First Aid for Higher Ed?

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) for Higher Ed is an 8-hour training course primarily designed for adults – students 18 and older, resident advisors, faculty, and administration who work with college students. The program focuses on the unique experiences and needs of college students and gives community members key skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves.

The program expands mental health "literacy" and reduces the social distance created by negative attitudes and perceptions of individuals with mental illnesses. The standard course is based on the international MHFA Guidelines and adapted for the U.S. These guidelines were developed using consensus of mental health consumers and professionals.

The Wellness, Health Promotion & Prevention staff of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board is training our County government workforce and our community members in Mental Health First Aid for Higher Ed.

Ready to take a class?

Course Content

Developing mental health problems covered:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Traumatic events
  • Psychosis
  • Substance abuse
  • Unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in college students

Mental health crises covered:

  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Non-suicidal self-injury
  • Panic attacks
  • Severe psychotic episodes
  • Effects from substance and alcohol use
  • Aggressive behavior

Participants will learn the signs and symptoms of these mental health problems in young adults, where and how to get help and what sort of help has been shown by research to be effective.

MHFA for Higher Ed Outcomes

Individuals trained in the program:

  • Increase their knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions in young people.
  • Can identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources for youth with a mental illness or addiction.
  • Have more confidence that they can and are more likely to help young people who are in distress.
  • Better understand the impact mental illnesses have on young adults, their family, and communities.
  • Help to reduce stigma associated with mental illnesses.
  • Show increased mental wellness themselves.

Got more questions about MHFA for Higher  Ed?

Read the Frequently Asked Questions about Mental Health First Aid, email CSBMHFA@fairfaxcounty.gov, or call 703-559-3000.

Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request. For information or to request this information in an alternate format, call 703-538-3215, TTY 711. Please allow two weeks’ notice to arrange ADA accommodations.


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